Be Alone with God

“Solitude and silence can never be separated from the call to unceasing prayer. If solitude were primarily an escape from a busy joy, and silence primarily an escape from a noisy milieu, they could easily become very self-centered forms of asceticism. But solitude and silence are for prayer. The Desert Fathers did not think of solitude as being alone, but as being alone with God. They did not think of silence as not speaking but as listening to God. Solitude and silence are the context within which prayer is practiced” (Henri Nouwen).

It’s easy for me to sit in silence and solitude, to let my mind go wherever it wants. But to sit in prayerful silence and solitude is a discipline that takes time to learn. My mind doesn’t automatically default to prayer. I have to still all the other voices and thoughts that clamor for my attention at every moment. Periodically I have to chase down my train of thought like a parent running after an unruly toddler that wants to go everywhere he’s not supposed to go and touch everything he’s not supposed to touch.

But prayer is also the gift of God, because sometimes the words come flowing through me and everything else stops.

Either way, God hears. When can’t get my mind to settle down, God hears me. When I’m drowning in voices and can’t separate one from the other, God hears. Before I speak a word, God knows it in full and set the answer in motion long before I prayed for it.

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